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Eric Takabatake closes in on Kitadai in Brazilian battle U60kg
23 Jan 2016 00:20
Although the Brazilians don’t have to qualify for the Olympic Games, they do have an internal battle in some of the most competitive weight categories. Eric Takabatake is one of those athletes who is closing in on Felipe Kitadai, the Olympic bronze medallist in London in the category U60kg.
At the Grand Prix of Havana, Takabatake did some good business by catching the big fish, gold in Cuba where Kitadai finished seventh.
The final of the day in the men’s U60kg category opposed the 2015 Pan-American silver medallist, Eric Takabatake and Bekir Ozlu of Turkey, who was at the Olympic Games for Georgia as Betkil Shukvani. Both were actually not among the top favorites of the competition but they showed beautiful and opportunist judo throughout the day. Due to an injury, Bekir Ozlu could not compete and Eric Takabatake won the second gold medal of the day for Brazil, a great day for him as he clearly needs the points for the final phase of the “internal” qualification for Rio 2016.
With Ahmet Sahin Kaba also from Turkey, another compatriot of Ozlu was qualified for the the final block. For the bronze medal, he was opposed to Armenian Hovhannes Davtyan. But the Turkish judoka was rapidly injured and had to stop the fight offering the victory to Hovhannes Davtyan.
The two top seeded athletes of the category, who were defeated earlier during the day, Sharafuddin Lutfillaev (UZB) and Orkhan Safarov (AZE) were opposed in the second bronze medal contest. Lutfillaev took the lead with a first yuko and was controlling the fight when Safarov also scored a yuko which was immediately followed on the floor with an immobilisation for ippon.
Takabatake who was the world’s number 16 before Havana, will now add some points and getting closer to Kitadai who’s the number 14.
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Isao Okano (JPN)
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